The Funny Thing about Old Goofy Pictures of Ourselves

Old pictures are funny.  But that means current pictures may eventually become funny too.


No matter who you are, you didn’t look cool in 1992.  That was a brutal year was for clothing fashion and hairstyles:  Both male and female mullets, pale blue jeans, neon and/or gold accessories.  It was just atrocious.  But at the time, people didn’t necessarily realize how laughable they truly looked.  (I was aware, but that was also the year I started Junior High, so by default I felt especially awkward.)

But 1992 isn’t the only year where if we look back through our old snapshots, we’d see an embarrassing version of not only ourselves but also of each other.  The general rule is that pictures of ourselves from at least ten years ago are definitely going to be funny.  I remember clearly thinking in 1995 (freshman year of high school), “There is nothing about right now that I will be able to come back and laugh at in the future.”  But while I was thinking that to myself, I was wearing a hooded flannel shirt with Airwalks and my hair was parted down the middle like Sean from Boy Meets World.  Though I was probably trying to look more like Corey’s older Eric at the time.

Of course it’s not just outdated fashion that makes these old snapshots so goofy.  Physically, were we most likely a bit different back then, too.  A while back, a guy from work brought in a picture of himself from the mid ‘90’s when he was about 50 pounds lighter and still had hair (and his hair was still brown).  It was interesting to watch people’s reactions as he showed the picture to people individually.  What was the best response?  “Wow, look at that stud!”  Or laugh and say, “That was you?  You looked funny back then.”  Either way, it’s a weird situation to be put in.

And that brings me to this point: Ten years from now, there’s a good chance that we will laugh at pictures of ourselves from the year 2010; despite how normal-looking and not funny-looking we think we look now.  So in one sense, we can never really look normal.  It’s funny how in an attempt to appear to be modern, we inevitably set ourselves up to be outdated.


How to Wear All Black, If You’re a Guy

Now that you’ve mastered How to Wear Pink, If You’re a Guy, try something even more difficult: black.

Gone are the days of the 1950’s beat generation or the grunge scene of the ‘90’s where dressing in all black meant you were a cool in a mysterious and artistic way. Today if a guy dresses in all black it sends one of the following wrong messages to the world:

1)     “I have recorded my own album called ‘Rock Tyme Central’, featuring me on electric guitar, keyboards, vocals, and back up vocals.”

2)      “Every once in a while, I put my tongue ring back in just to keep the hole from closing up.”

3)     “I worship Satan.”

When choosing to wear a black collared shirt, whether it’s a polo or long sleeved button down, unless you’re wearing with it dark jeans, you’re making a risky move, because you must carefully plan everything else you wear with it.

And since black shirts don’t usually work well with khaki pants (just like you can’t wear brown shoes with black pants), you will ultimately end up wearing some form of black pants: dark gray, charcoal, or faded black.  So technically, that means you’re wearing all black.

But these days, the only way to wear all black if you’re a guy is to not literally wear all black, but instead, pay tribute to the idea.  To pull this off, you must incorporate a color accent, or distraction, against the uniform consistency of your “all black” attire.  Like a blue t-shirt underneath your black shirt that barely shows through.  Or a white belt.  Or really nice Diesel style shoes with color in them- but not regular sneakers.

Hey Jealousy (A Retrospective Look Back at Grunge and Alternative Rock Music)

I’m gonna say it.  Despite the cliché, because it’s true: Music today just ain’t what it used to be.

I was born in 1981.  Junior high for me was 1993 to 1995.  High school was from 1995 to 1999.  And I say in all confidence that compared to the current generic decency of Nickelback and the outright douchebaggery of bands like Godsmack and Buckcherry, my generation of rock music was far superior.

Not that I have anything against the stuff they play on Jack FM (Phil Collins, Eddie Money, The Police, etc.) or my parents’ music (The Beatles, The Eagles, The Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, etc.) because I’m a huge classic music fan.  Just as I’m a Movie Guy, I’m absolutely a Music Guy as well.

I get it.  Every music lover out there seems to hold a warm place in their heart for the music that was popular when they were a teenager.  Here I am doing the same thing; I’m no different.  Those bands and songs are all attached to places, people, and stories from a time where I was “discovering who I was”.  Grunge and alternative rock makes up the soundtrack of my teenage years.

I clearly remember in 8th grade, after school getting off the bus several blocks too soon to visit the local music store (that coincidently was only open that year and the following year, when alternative music ruled the music scene) to purchase the groundbreaking Green Day album, Dookie (at the time, I was still buying cassettes, not CD’s).  From Janis Joplin to Santana to Dinosaur Jr. to Blind Melon, they had it all in stock.  Along with several racks of appropriate signs-of-the-times jewelry including, but not limited to, clay “shroom” necklaces.

What I remember most about that music store isn’t the name, being that I have no clue what it was called, but the smell.  Incense.  A sweeter smell than patchouli.  I can’t help but assume that the constantly burning incense had something to do with the store owners covering up a different smoke smell of their own.

When I hear “Ironic” or “Hand in My Pocket” or “You Learn” by Alanis Morissette, or “Today” by The Smashing Pumpkins (which I would have to declare as the official song of my teenage years), an emotional spark ignites in my brain, causing me to simultaneously travel back to 1995 and feel a rush of euphoria.

So maybe what exactly constitutes as grunge or alternative is a bit blurry.  Typically, the lyrics are abstract, weird, and sometimes bit creepy.  The guitars are layered with both “staticky” and “crystallized” effects.  Whatever it was and is, it makes me happy.  Long live grunge and alternative!

Since I released my top 25 favorite movies this week (Movie Guy, at Your Service: My Top Ten Favorites), I might as well attempt to release my top twenty favorite bands of the grunge and alternative rock era.  Yes, it is controversial, but on my list, Nirvana is not present.  Like Soundgarden, they were too depressing for me.  I’m judging these by their relevance of grunge and alternative music in my personal life.  This is not a list of my favorite bands of all time- that’s a different list altogether.

My Top Twenty Favorite Bands of the Grunge and Alternative Rock Era

1)     Smashing Pumpkins

2)     Oasis

3)     Green Day

4)     Third Eye Blind

5)     Live

6)     The Wallflowers

7)     Alanis Morissette

8)     R.E.M.

9)     Bush

10) Gin Blossoms

11) Counting Crows

12) The Cranberries

13) Matchbox Twenty

14) Weezer

15) Collective Soul

16) Red Hot Chili Peppers

17) Foo Fighters

18) Everclear

19) Pearl Jam

20) Better Than Ezra

Do you want to share your list with me?  Then do it!

Me in 1995, AKA "The Grunge Days"